An agribusiness company, Amiran Kenya, has come up with a hybrid watermelon breed that can earn small-scale farmers more than Sh2 million from half an acre in two months.
One fruit of lahat F1 can yield between nine and 10 kilogrammes, weight that is two to three times higher than ordinary watermelon breeds in the market.
Johnstone Makau of Amiran Kenya says one bush of lahat F1 bears between three and four fruits. And one acre accommodates at least 5,000 bushes, he says.
A half an acre can give an output of 10,000 fruits worth hundreds of thousands of shillings.
“This variety is high yielding because of the crossing which has been done to improve productivity. Its production stands out from the rest and farmers are assured of high returns after harvests,” he said.
Watermelons in Nairobi and other major towns cost between Sh25 and Sh40, depending on the supply from farms.
With proper crop husbandry, a farmer can produce about 90,000 kilos from half an acre, which will earn them at least Sh2 million on proper timing.
Makau says the variety takes between 65 and 70 days to mature.
Fruit sector earned Sh49 billion domestically in 2013, according to the Horticultural Crops Development Authority.
Watermelons accounted for Sh1.8 billion out of the total Sh177 billion horticultural sector sales in the same year.
The previous year the fruit had performed almost twice better, scooping Sh3 billion from the domestic market.
Besides the local market, exporting watermelons is equally rewarding.
The seeds of lahat F1 are supplied by Amiran Kenya, with a 100 grammes costing Sh8,120.
Makau can be reached on 0729991871.